Awesome Foliage

I am continually amazed and awed at the beautiful flowers and plants here in the Philippines. God created it all....and the beauty found here is just a shadow of the beauty awaiting us in Heaven.






Living Differences

I've had people ask me how living in the tropics is different than living in Michigan.
Well, for starters it is much hotter here. Right now it is 82 degrees and 75% humidity. (and it's 6p.m. as I write this - which here means the sun is about down.) Real feel is closer to 87. But the real feel for this afternoon was 109 degrees according to (actual temp was 93 degrees farenheit.)
The hot translates into taking more showers ( 1 - 3/day on average) and using lots of powder!
The sun comes up around 5:15 each morning and sets around 5:30 each night. There is a consistent amount of daylight and dark time hours. No day light savings time needed here!!!!!!
For the kusina (kitchen) the heat and humidity translates into this:

Stove top cooking or microwaving is preferred to turning on the oven.
All flour based products (flour, wheat germ, corn meal, oat meal, spaghetti, pasta of any sort, rice, etc.) need to be frozen for at least three days to keep any little critters from materializing in the product.
It is better to store all grain-based products in freezer or fridge but since room doesn't allow for that, the second best option is to keep everything in plastic seal-tight containers (where is tupperware when you need it!:)) (Actually, the Philippines has an excellent supply of plastic ware and storage containers!)
Eggs are purchased off the grocery or market shelf, not refrigerator section. The eggs are not cleaned for selling so it is important to wash the eggs before using and also crack the eggs into a small container before adding to whatever you are using the egg never know when you'll come across a bad egg!
When you are at a restaraunt you have to specifically ask for brewed coffee, no sugar, no cream. Otherwise you get instant coffee along with cream and sugar.
A 'three-piece sheet set' is likely to contain a fitted sheet and 2 pillow cases. If you want a traditional 'American' sheet set you need to purchase sheets from a store that stocks 'American' or 'Canadian' sheet sets.
That's it for now.....I'll list more differences later.

Ben and Friends

On our recent trip to Nasuli, Ben had a number of occasions to play with new found Filipino friends even though they did not share a common language with each other. These two boys are the children of "mother tongue" translators who are working on Bible translation here in the Philippines. Their first language is one of the local languages (I forget the name) and they speak some Cebuano, which is the language Beth and I are trying to learn. They do not know any English. Yet, the boys got along just fine and found a way to play basketball without too much difficulty.

I was playing with them for a while myself. I remember the odd looks on the two boys faces when I tried to say the word ball in Cebuano. That was because I said "balo" instead of "bola". Oh well, they tolerated my slaughtered attempt at Cebuano and we had fun anyway.

More basketball

Picture time

The daughter of the van driver and Ben

On our 6 hour trip home, Ben became acquainted with the daughter of the driver of the van. She spoke some English and we think that she might have had a few years on Ben, but they had fun playing together.

All this to say that we are pleased when we see our children getting to know other Filipino children. Sometimes we sense some reluctance on our children's part to get to know Filipinos. That is a natural tendency, of course, to draw back when we encounter a situation or a person who might be very different than ourselves. We all do it from time to time. Beth and I are trusting that God is shaping all of us into the people that he wants us to be.

Province Life

We recently went to Nasuli, about a 4 hour trip from here. On this trip we had the opportunity to go to a village. We visited with a wonderful lady named BeBe who has worked with SIL since she was 17.


She gave us our first taste of durian. None of us were too impressed with it. It tastes like a mix of rotting onion and fresh garlic. Some people absolutely love it. We've been told it takes several times of trying it to acquire a taste for it.

Durian in a bowl

She walked us around her village. Here are some photos from that walk.

Kurt blogged about a skylab. Here's another sort of transportation used in the provinces.

Cariboau Transport

Here are some typical village houses.

Village house

Another Village house

Industrious boys

Boy carrying items

An Image From the Road

Yesterday we just got back from a three day vacation in a place called Nasuli, which is about a four hour drive north of where we are living. Here is just one of the many sights we saw along the way. We were following this motorcycle and I took this picture from the front seat of the van that we were in.

Do you know what a skylab is? It is a motorcycle with a board attached to the seat to make it hold more people and/or goods. That is how the baskets are staying in place in the above picture. In the Philippines, motorcycles are a major form of transportation. It is a little unusual to see a motorcycle with only one person on it. Usually, especially in the province, motorcycles hold from 2 to 6 people. Yes, you heard me right. We passed a motorcycle on Tuesday that held a family of six including very young children. Seeing motorcycles with three or four people was commonplace and hardly worth noting. And these are not large motorcycles either - probably 100cc to 250cc (for you non-motorcycle people those are relatively small).

Yet, the above picture does not hold a candle to the picture that I did not get! A man and his wife were transporting on a motorcycle a whole sala set (living room set) made out of bamboo. On his motorcycle was a couch, two chairs, and an end table, his wife and himself. We were amazed.